A Step Back in Time
With HOTEL NUVE HERITAGE
The Purvis Street area is rich in history, a former hub for Hainanese immigrants who arrived in Singapore in the mid-1800s. Originally traders, the Hainanese eventually settled in this area, and the migrant community burgeoned. They were particularly well-known for their forays into the hospitality business, first working in, and then opening, their own hotels, restaurants, bakeries, and coffee shops – which led to the Hainanese being credited with the introduction of kopitiam culture.
It is one such former bakery that now houses the refurbished and aptlynamed Hotel Nuve Heritage, a boutique hotel that has retained its historic legacy and sense of local culture with the additions of modern luxuries. Built in 1910, this centrally-located shophouse boasts 19 rooms, including three signature suites, each of which has been decorated to a specific vintage travel theme.
While attracting the usual demographic of business and leisure guests on stopovers on "the little red dot", Wei Siong, director of Hotel Nuve Heritage, tells me that the hotel has drawn in a steady flow of “staycation” visitors since it reopened its doors in early October.
As this was my first staycation experience, I was intrigued by the concept – I was even slightly sceptical of this increasingly popular trend which sees you "holiday" while at home. Surely, it could hardly be that much different to your average weekend?
As it turns out, I was wrong: It is possible to feel like a traveller in your own city, a feeling that was undoubtedly encouraged by the nautical and cartographical elements of the Explorer’s Suite. Sense of adventure? Tick! With a cavernous bathroom, vast four-poster bed, and a complimentary mini bar, it would have been quite easy to settle in for the afternoon. However, if you’re going to try out being a tourist in your own “backyard”, you had better hop to it, and the location of Hotel Nuve Heritage leaves you spoilt for choice. In Purvis Street alone, you have several dining options, from local fare to luxury cuisine. There's also a spa and hair salon. In keeping with my "holiday" mood, I indulged in both.
Feeling rejuvenated and somewhat improved, I ventured a bit further for an early evening drink at a rooftop bar, followed by a wander through nearby Haji Lane. Not wanting to neglect my plush home-for-a-day, I capped off the evening with a soak in the suite's immense tub. The complimentary mini bar may have been subjected to a bit of sampling, too.
While the in-house café will only open early this year, the temporary breakfast host next door serves up an ample spread to kick-start the day.
Hotel Nuve Heritage marries community-style hospitality with oodles of local charm, inviting even the most familiar guest to rediscover all that Singapore has to offer.